To what extent is the Electoral College the best method of electing the US President? (30 marks)

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  • electoral college best method
    • winner-takes-all system
      • winner-takes-all, simple plurality system distorts the popular vote
        • 2000 & 2016 popular vote winner wasn't overall winner
      • creates a lot of wasted votes
        • 2012 California's 4.8m votes for Romney wasted
      • popular vote isn't followed so undemocratic
      • winner may lack mandate therefore legitimacy
    • campaigns focus on swing states
      • May to Election Day 2012 Romney & Obama visited Ohio 35 times, Florida 31 & Virginia 29
      • 2012 38 states not visited once
      • April 11th - Election Day 2012 $314.8m spent on TV ads by Obama of which 99.6% spent in 10 states
      • undemocratic& unfair on non-swing state voters
      • may cause apathy in non-swing states
      • lower levels of turnout in some states & varied turnout across country
    • third party candidates don't stand a chance
      • 1992 Perot 19% popular vote but no ECVs
      • BUT Wallace 1968 46 ECVs
      • voters who aren't aligned with 2 main parties not represented
      • voters have less choice which goes against pluralist democracy
      • easier for wealthier 3rd party candidates which alienates voters
    • produces a president with a mandate
      • 2012 Obama received 332 ECVs & Romney received 206
      • president has a clear mandate, legitimacy & authority
      • stability means less political disturbances
      • winner of ECVs may not win popular vote (2000 & 2016)
    • ECVs based on population size
      • ECVs per state = senators + reps.
        • Alaska 3 ECVs & 737,000 people
        • Cali. 55 ECVs & 38.8m people
      • 23rd A gave 3 ECVs to DC so they were represented in the EC
      • redistricting ensures fairness as populations rise & fall
      • small states don't have an overly disproportionate influence
      • its easy to calculate so reduced alienation of less educated voters
      • there is over and underrepresentation of some states
        • Alaska should have 1.2 ECVs & Cali. should have 65 ECVs
    • aren't any agreed alternatives
      • only two states (Maine & Nebraska) use congressional district method
        • method still has lots of wasted votes & an even less proportional result
      • proportional system or popular vote system could be used
        • less likely candidate would win absolute majority
      • EC better than alternatives
      • constitutional amendment required which takes a long time
      • national Popular Vote Interstate Compact gaining support since 2007 with 10 states joining DC

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